Richard Wilsons Fish Rise – Summer Reading: Hemingwhy?

I am delighted to be able to publish Richard Wilson’s regular articles on North Devon Angling News. This months is close to my own heart with angling books and authors on the agenda.

In Praise of Negley Farson

It’s that time of year again – summertime, holidays, excitement! I can hardly contain my inner grouch. Everything is a Buster … bonk-, bunny-, block- and so on. Book lists proliferate, making it clear that a lot of people only read on a beach (or at Christmas).

I think beaches are for avoiding and Christmas is for grumbling. Reading, on the other hand, is one of life’s great pleasures and needs no encouragement. Just do it.

This summer my off-the-beach bugbear is Hemingway and can be summed up in a single word: Why?

For a growing number of people it takes 3 sentences to explain him: “He was selfish and egomaniacal, a faithless husband and a treacherous friend. He drank too much, he brawled and bragged too much, he was a thankless son and a negligent father. He was also a great writer,” Prof Angela O’Donnell. Or you can have it in one: Great writer, shame about the man.

In recent years Hemingway’s character and grand-standing private life have taken a battering. Now, amidst the wreckage of character assassination, just the mighty wordsmith is left standing: Hemingway the Great Writer.

Well, maybe. Back in the heyday of hard-living literary narcissists, Hemingway had rivals.  Among them was Negley Farson, an all-American adventurer, iconoclast, much-loved author, arms dealer, star foreign correspondent, fly fisher, sailor and raging alcoholic who ended his days in oblivion (drunk in rural England).

When both men died in 1960/1, Hemingway ruled the roost. Not now. Online, Farson’s Going Fishing is out-selling Hemingway’s Big Two-Hearted River by 4:1.  This is an unreliable snapshot taken as I write this, but it’s well deserved. And while students buy Hemingway because they must – he’s on the syllabus – people read Farson because they want to. They do it because Going Fishing is one of the finest fishing books ever written and because Farson’s non-fishing books, once best sellers, are also on a bounce.

Farson was a glorious, swaggering misfit.  Born in 1890 and raised in New Jersey by his grandfather, a cantankerous Civil War general, he lived for writing, drinking, travelling and fishing. And then again.

He was a First World War pilot for the British and then headed to Russia for the Revolution as an arms dealer. He was a rock star among American foreign correspondents back when foreign correspondents were household names, interviewed Hitler and reported from Germany as a Nazi mob stormed the Reichstag and felled German democracy.  He witnessed Ghandi’s arrest by the British, was there to see John Dillinger’s corpse and, in-between times, there were Franco, Mussolini and global travel by boat, donkey and on foot.

He modestly billed his 1942 ‘Going Fishing’, as “just the story of some rods and the places they take you to.”  It arrived, as only a Farson book could, with a review by fishing writer and fighter pilot Hugh Falkus.  This might seem routine, but Falkus was incarcerated in Oflag IV-C, better known as Colditz; the prisoner-of-war camp where the Nazis locked up Allied troublemakers. ‘Going Fishing’ got into Colditz.

Farson drank Hemingway under the table, partied with F Scott Fitzgerald and confessed “I would never have believed it if anyone had told me so; but even the sight of a nude girl at the piano was beginning to pall.” More Hemingway than Hemingway you might think, and you’d be right.

Yet Farson is cursed by Hemingway’s shadow. Even his biography was patronisingly titled “Almost Hemingway”. This was as undeserved as it was offensive and wrong; Farson was the real deal while Hemmingway was striking a pose.

Both men were headstrong and deeply flawed characters who learned their craft in newspaper journalism. Hemingway picked up his minimalist ‘Iceberg Theory’ of writing as a junior reporter at the Kansas City Star. The paper’s newsroom stylebook (a feature of newsrooms worldwide) laid out a modest set of rules which I’ll rehash briefly: Write stripped-down sentences using Anglo-Saxon words. Take care with adjectives because they can reveal more about the writer than the subject.  For a modern take on this see the Economist Style Book, available from Amazon and good bookstores. These rules are timeless and are as true today as they were then.

It’s also a long and well-trodden path. Here’s another former journalist: “We shall fight on the beaches, we shall fight on the landing grounds, we shall fight in the fields and in the streets, we shall fight in the hills; we shall never surrender.”  Only Churchill’s last scornful word is French. Read it out loud and Google the speech for a masterclass.

Churchill’s words are as fresh now as they were in the darkest hours of the early 1940s. Likewise, Farson’s writing still leaps effortlessly off the page with the direct, no-nonsense clarity of a celebrated newsman honed on the Chicago Daily News, then a world-leading newspaper orbiting high above the Kansas City Star.

Yet, in contrast to Farson and Churchill, Hemingway’s writing can sound pretentious (a French word, of course) to modern ears. For example, the grating and self-indulgent repetitions:

“The trunks of the trees went straight up or slanted toward each other. The trunks were straight and brown without branches. The branches were high above.”

The Big Two-Hearted River

For modern readers, Hemingway has lost his fizz. Much of what once seemed innovative is now tired, and those repetitions wouldn’t have passed the sub-editors’ desk in Kansas.

Then there’s the image: Hemingway’s projected mid-life persona was aspirational for the age he lived in.  But, nowadays, strong storylines and tight prose amount to nothing set against all those gloating pictures. The great white hunter, the slaughtered Marlin and machine-gunned shark are seared into our collective psyche. He’s the journalist who claimed to have killed German prisoners of war. That would be murder. So a new generation of readers think he’s the braggart poster boy for toxic masculinity and misogyny. That some of his writing is still great doesn’t matter.  A trashed image trumps everything and that this is self-inflicted makes it worse.

So, if you’ve never read Negley Farson, please do.  For the many who have, including me, Going Fishing is the finest autobiographical fishy book in a crowded field. His friend, F Scott Fitzgerald, confessed that while he had relied on imagination for compelling stories, Negley could simply draw on life.

Farson is still a great writer with an indelible legacy. And he’s long overdue a return to the limelight.

So, to whoever writes his next biography, the correct title is “Better than Hemingway”.

“Farson lived each day as if it were a door that needed kicking in.“

Rex Bowman, co-author of “Almost Hemingway”, getting it right.

Why Hemingway? I don’t know – no good reason I can think of. But I can tell you why Farson: He’s a great writer who has passed the test of time.

For more of Richards wisdom click on the link below

My own thoughts on books and authors.

Reading and writing are fascinating topics and I try to do a bit of both. Books are wonderful and good ones do indeed stand the test of time remaining in print and relevant for decades or even centuries. The rapid expansion of the internet and digital produce caused concern that the book in its hardback or paperback form had had its day. Fortunately, the book in its printed form is going strong and looking at the shelves in Tesco and Waterstones is testament to the longevity of the books and readers preference for something tangible and tactile. 

When I write I try to entertain, inform and record memories or moments in time. Angling authors abound and I have my favourites and these are perhaps those who manage to capture the essence of angling in prose that flows easily from the page. Choosing favourites is almost impossible but Chris Yates, H.T. Sheringham and BB have to be close to the top of my own list. Richard Wilson touches upon the characters and what type of people they were. To some extent this is determined by their place in society. Hemingway, Farson, Zane Grey, Hugh Falkus and Mitchell Hedges are all author’s that I would guess were rather arrogant larger than life chaps who liked a beer or two and lived fast and loose. The typical swashbuckling movie idol of the time? Chris Yates, BB and H.T. Sheringham are writers of a more genteel and idyllic prose who paint a different picture with their pen. To link waters with the psychological profile of the author is perhaps a little deep but could however make for a fascinating read.

Wayne Thomas



Angling is a very divided pastime with each discipline having its dedicated band of practitioners. Historically angling has been split into Coarse, Sea and Game yet even within these parameters each discipline is segmented into different groups. In Coarse fishing we have specimen hunters, carp anglers, pleasure anglers and match fishers. Sea anglers can to some degree be split between shore, boat, match fishers, specimen hunters, LRF and those who fish primarily for the table.

Even within these branches there are those  disciples of a particular style or method. For example, within carp fishing circles there are traditionalists who use vintage tackle and methods stalking the fish they seek. Then there are those who employ modern technics and tackle to deceive the carp using a trapping mentality that can involve long stays camping at the water’s edge.

I could write on about these differing strands of angling but hopefully I have made my point. Times change though and as always angling evolves within society and perhaps reflects the times we live in.

I am a rare breed in that I am a true allrounder casting my line into many waters for a wide range of fish. I truly struggle to say what my favourite fish or technique is often stating that I will fish for anything that swims.

In addition to fishing, I enjoy reading about fishing, writing about fishing and talking about fishing. Being passionate about the pastime I inevitably get drawn into the politics of it all from time to time.

It is probably true to say that many anglers try to keep clear of politics though there are of course numerous keyboard warriors on social media.

One issue that should unite all anglers is the dramatic decline in nature, its eco systems and of course fish stocks. In an ideal world all those who care for nature would work closely together putting their differences aside for the greater good. Sadly, this just isn’t the case at the moment. One issue is of course the moral question posed by those who think angling is cruel. Then there is the all too frequent confrontations between canoeists, wild swimmers and numerous other water users.

Fortunately, there is growing unity amongst many who enjoy the outdoors and the water’s edge. Pollution from agriculture, sewage and industry is destroying our rivers and the seas into which they flow. Nobody wants to swim, paddle or fish in filth so there is a growing desire to get those in power to sort it out.

It is fair to say that the angling sector having most influence in this area is the game fishing fraternity. In the UK freshwater gamefish are determined as Salmon, trout and grayling all of which have an adipose fin. In England’s historic class hierarchy these fish were fished for by the upper classes. The coarse fish and sea fish were predominantly the domain of the lower to middle classes.

This was put to me during a discussion at a recent meeting when I was expressing concern at the lack of engagement between sea anglers and the state. Recent restrictions on netting in estuaries that benefit sea anglers in protecting bass and mullet stocks were largely brought about by lobbying of those in power by River Associations whose members are primarily salmon and sea trout anglers.

It is fair to say that there are far more sea anglers and coarse anglers than game fishers and yet the minority who fish for salmonoids seem to have greater influence. Is this because they have more money, because they move in privileged circles, because they are better organised or better educated?

Such questions seem wrong, politically incorrect but there is undoubtedly an undercurrent with our history that perhaps lingers.

Apathy within many angling community’s and a distinct dislike and distrust of authority runs deep. Whilst angling is undoubtedly one of the biggest participant sports in the land with estimates ranging between one and five million the number who actually belong to its governing body number just thousands.

It engages huge numbers of people – estimated to involve around 900,000 fishing in freshwater in England and Wales and around 750,000 people who fish in the sea every year in the UK3.

A thorny topic amongst sea anglers has been a suggestion that there should be an angling licence          . Such suggestions often result in indignant statements that fishing in the sea is free and always should be. The finance raised would not be used to protect or promote angling interests, Just another tax and so on.

Freshwater anglers have to buy a licence and revenue from this is used to protect and promote angling via the Environment agency in liaison with the angling trust.

But perhaps this is the only way that  sea angling will be truly recognised and valued? Sea angling is undoubtedly of more value to the economy than the commercial sector but this is not widely acknowledged.

Licence or not sea anglers as stakeholders do not in general engage with the bodies that manage our waters. I sit on the D & S IFCA as a general member and have engaged with MMO consultations. Of the thousands who cast a line in sea water how many actually get involved as stakeholders?

The D & S IFCA website is worth a visit if you want to get a bit of background on fishy politics and management of our waters.

On Fishing and Falling In – Recollections from Barry Bassnett

I met Barry Bassnett on several occasions whilst fishing for trout at Blakewell Fishery. We exchanged stories of angling in North Devon and I was delighted to record some of Barry’s recollections in my book “ I Caught A Glimpse”. Barry recently expressed his opinion on fishing styles after I posted an image of static fishing.  Fishing methods can to an extent be split between a trapping approach where the bait is positioned whilst the angler waits for an audible or visual indication before reeling in the fish. The other approach is to hold the rod and feel for the electrifying pull as the fish moves away with the bait or lure the angler driving the hook home with a strike. Many thanks to Barry for allowing me to reproduce his comments and recollections.

I use both approaches depending upon my preference or to what I think most likely to succeed. I remember my father preferring to hold the rod at all times waiting for that magical pull transmitted through the line. Barry’s comments and recollections are reproduced below.

A musical fish perhaps. Ha ha. But I can’t just sit there. Waiting for a buzzer to go off. It would drive me mad!! 

I also can’t sea fish with a rod rest. I like the feel of a rod in my hand waiting for the bite. I want to lure fish this next summer. I’m hoping my neighbour Andy. Across the road will help me get started and I want to get out on the Lyn again .

I found out I’d got a Morecambe book about fishing. The Morecambe of Morecambe and Wise. It’s a brilliant book 

And a great read. 

I also have somewhere, an old book of old salmon fishing flies. I’ll have to try and find it some time. 

Does Barnstaple have an angling club. And if it does what waters do they have and do they have many waters. And sections of the club is coarse fly and sea. Included. 

Barnstaple & District Angling Club

Do you remember Bill Leg? A chap I fished with many many years ago. 

We were with Owen another friend. It must have been in the seventies. We went to an open sea competition at Saunton. And there was a severe gale blowing. They decided to stop and cancel the competition. But our bunch decided they were all soft. So, we had to wade all the way to where we decided to fish .it was extremely hard going even up on the dunes was deep sea water. The wind was so strong. All along the beach we were wading in our waders. The water knee high. 

When we decided we’d trudged far enough to start fishing. We got set up with four ounce weights on the end and started to cast 

But however hard we tried to throw the weights out they ended up on the beach behind us. The odd one did get into the waves a couple of yards out. 

Of course, eventually we had to give up it was humiliating as we had told the rest we were going to fish it. As it couldn’t beat us. 

It was a struggle to get all our stuff in hand and make our way back to Owens car. It seemed miles in the very strong gale. Walking against the wind. We got back to the car soaked and shattered. And totally beaten. 

It was so great to be let out of the car outside my home. 

And into the warm again. 

I learned my lesson .

It was years after since I was young and had fallen into the river East Lyn. And spent the day with wet clothes on And soggy socks. Fishing. 

But this experience was far worse. I don’t let myself get soaking wet now. I’ve a full waterproof suit now. That floats me. 

Happy memories. I often sit and smile of my times in the water. When I’ve fallen in or been out in storms too stupid to give in and stop fishing. 

And I now also stop fishing during lightening storms.

But in the early days I was using my mother’s old greenheart fly rod. That was safer it was only six foot six long and a great rod for under the low trees and bushes on the Lyn on our own stretch. Casting over my  shoulder with my right hand. Holding the rod. That was back when I lived at Millslade in Brendon. I used to get a lot of free flies on the Lyn back then when there were loads of visitors staying at the Staghunters. And they used to lose their flies up in the trees and bushes from where I collected them. 

(Above)The old bridge at Brendon

Oh, happy days! Back then the Staghunter’s rented all the Halliday water . The water now known as the Glenthorne fishery was connected to Glenthorne down beside the sea below county gate. My great grandfather. Used to be the butler at Glenthorne before he bought the three cottages that he turned into the Staghunters Inn hotel in Brendon. Of course, that did mean I got to fish all of the East Lyn for free plus we had two fields with our own fishing with Millslade. It was paradise for me for all my childhood days. I so miss it now.

 It’s such great memories. And I fell into the east Lyn many times. When I was young or got a boot full of water. 

On one occasion I was in the field opposite Leaford. One field up and I was stood on a narrow pointed stone and one of the old hunter air craft flew up the valley extremely low. Just above me and I lost my Ballance. And of course, fell in. .and again was wet for most of the day. My feet didn’t dry out. .but if I went home to change my father would put me to work. Again. Mowing the lawn or gardening or cleaning the shippens out moved a huge amount of cow muck over the years. When I was young on to a large heap to rot down a bit for the fields and the veg garden . 

Take care Barry

(Above) Old days on the Lyn


Coastal Access Issues

When I started fishing from the North Devon Coast close to fifty years ago access to the coast was not a major issue with many marks freely accessible. During the 1980’s and onwards issues started to arise as the numbers of anglers fishing increased with many travelling long distances to fish the marks. Sadly, some of the anglers showed little respect for private property and sometimes left litter and in some cases broke down fences to gain access.

During recent years some marks have been operated on a permit only basis with an annual fee charged to allow access to private land to fish. Permits are generally obtained by local anglers who tend to respect the owners and their property accepting that times have changed and that to gain access to fish a charge is perhaps the new normal.

These access issues have perhaps been highligted further since COVID and lockdowns increased coastal visits by the general public.

In some cases certain areas have been closed to angling to ensure maximum potential use of the venue for commercial purposes. There are concerns that anglers breaking the rules regarding access to closed areas could jeopardise access to wider areas.

I hope that those reading this will know of the areas and appreciate the issues. It would be sad if those who have invested in permits and follow the rules are denied access to several prime marks due to anglers fishing a couple of marks that have been closed off. Once access is lost it is seldom regained.

Respect of private property is essential if anglers wish to maintain access to the coast.

Some areas of South Devon have become virtual no go areas as a result of anti social behaviour by a minority it is to be hoped this does not happen in North Devon.

Merry Christmas & Happy Fishes for 2023

I would like to thank all those who have followed North Devon Angling News throughout 2022 and to those who have contributed news stories and pictures. A special thanks to those who have sponsored the site over past years.

I welcome new sponsors for 2023 at very reasonable rates. Contact – [email protected]


Anglers Paradise


                        A New Year dawns and an old year passes a time that we all tend to both reflect and look to the future. Hopefully anglers will have managed to get to the water’s edge over the Christmas holiday and in the days that have followed. If all goes well I will be out boat fishing when this goes to print hoping for a cod in the murky waters off Minehead.

(Trip was cancelled due to strong winds and swell)

Chris Bond with a cod from the murky waters off Minehead.

The winter cod season has been producing some excellent cod with fish to over twenty pounds boated already this season along with ray, huss and good sized conger. Archie Porter is taking anglers out from Ilfracombe on Reel Deals Sister boat “Predator 2”. Spurdog, conger and huss dominate catches in this part of the Bristol Channel with cod surprisingly scarce in recent seasons. The reason for this is open to speculation as there was a seemingly healthy cod population off the North Devon coast during the 1970s, 80’s and 90’s.

The dynamics of angling have certainly changed over the past twenty years or so as society changes. Boxing Day used to be a busy day in North Devon’s angling clubs fixture programme yet this tradition seems to have lost its popularity. I remember well when Bideford Angling Club always held a Boxing day fixture and Ilfracombe & District Angling Club held a match on Ilfracombe Pier. This decline in participation does not reflect a decline in the numbers going fishing for some disciplines of angling are in the healthiest state for many years. The COVID pandemic has perhaps encouraged many more to discover angling or rediscover its pleasures and benefits.

The angling clubs of North Devon have to some extent not seen the full benefit of this resurgence in angling participation as societies habits change. The ever changing workplace with many working throughout the seven day week has impacted upon weekend fixtures. Solitary angling such as carp fishing and sea angling is thriving whilst the social aspects are to some extent ebbing.

Anglers Paradise

Commercial Fisheries such as Stafford Moor and Anglers Paradise offer superb fishing for a wide range of species. Match anglers fishing bespoke match venues can regularly put together nets of fish well in excess of 100lb. Such huge bags of fish would have been rare a couple of decades ago yet today it has become the expected normal.

Carp fishing has boomed in recent decades with North Devon waters reflecting the countrywide increase in carp weights. When I started writing this column over two decades ago a twenty pound carp would have been noteworthy. I now report on thirty pound plus carp most weeks with forty and fifty pound plus fish included. I have mixed feelings about this as I remember with nostalgia a time when carp were viewed as almost uncatchable mysterious creatures that drifted through lakes where they were seldom caught except by the dedicated specimen hunter. In today’s carp angling World the long stay angler dominates bivvied up beside lake’s traps set waiting to hook carp that have been given names. The mystery has to a large extent been lost, a reflection that perhaps mirrors the wider world where the knowledge we gain in life sometimes subtracts from its richness.


Whilst the artificially created angling world booms the wild salmon and sea trout that once surged into our rivers have declined at an alarming rate. If the salmon and sea trout numbers continue to decline at the same rate since I started fishing for them back in the early eighties they could be all but extinct within fifty years. This is a sad indictment of how mankind has squandered the wealth of the natural world. The reasons for the decline in wild fish populations is complex though overfishing, climate change and pollution are all contributory factors driven by an ever increasing population that demands evermore from natures dwindling store cupboard.

I took my fly rod the Wimbleball Reservoir a couple of days before Christmas and experienced exciting fishing for the rainbow trout that have been stocked in this extensive reservoir high on Exmoor. This reservoir completed in 1979 is a fine example of how mankind can create a rich and diverse almost natural environment. The trout within this lake are hard fighting and fin perfect. Standing waist deep in the clear cold water looking out over a vast sheet of water as the light constantly changes it felt refreshingly wild.

I look forward to reporting on North Devon’s angling news in 2022 and would like to wish readers tight lines for 2022. Special thanks to all the sponsors of North Devon Angling News.



Benyon Review on Highly Protected Marine Areas – Angling Ban looms!!!

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Many of you will have heard of the Benyon Review on Highly Protected Marine Areas. Whilst I support the general principles of these reserves I do not believe that recreational angling should be included in proposed restricted activities. Now is the time to have your say for if you cannot be bothered you may find angling banned in large areas that have always been fished. The loss of sea angling along the North Devon coast would be a tragedy for many depriving many of a much loved hobby and putting many local businesses out of existence.

My Letter below:-

Dear Selaine Saxby,

                                         I am writing to you to express grave concerns regarding the recently published Benyon Review on Highly Protected Marine Areas. I have been a keen and dedicated sea angler for close to fifty years and it has always been a big part of my life. I was born in Combe Martin and have fished the local coastline since being introduced to the pastime by my late father. I have been a member of the Combe Martin Sea Angling Club since the age of thirteen and have served as both Secretary and Chairman of the club for over forty years. In addition I am a regular contributor to angling magazines, an author and write the weekly column in the North Devon Journal. I also run a popular local website North Devon Angling News.

               Sea angling is a popular pastime in North Devon and supports numerous businesses including Tackle Shops, Charter Boats, Holiday accommodation and many other local businesses. The Benyon report itself estimates a national spend of £847 million.

        I personally have always believed in the value of Marine Conservation Zones and fully understand the principles behind them. I have witnessed a dramatic decline in many species of fish during my long recreational angling life. I like most anglers now practice catch and release for most species taking only the occasional fish for the table. I do not believe anglers have a significant impact on fish stocks and should not be included in the same category as commercial fishing that has undoubtedly decimated fish stocks and caused severe damage to marine life with destructive fishing methods.

      I suggest that angling bodies should be consulted regarding these proposals with the Angling Trust engaging with the relevant bodies to seek a way forward with anglers working with conservation interests to promote improved fish stocks.

The template for such cooperation can be seen across the world where angling works with conservation bodies to protect fish stocks supporting a high value recreational resource that in turn supports many local businesses.

        I urge you to consider the value of sea angling in North Devon and the importance in providing a healthy pastime that is good for both mental and physical health. I’m writing to ask if you would write to the Rt Hon George Eustice, Secretary of State at DEFRA, and ask him to reject the proposals to bring in an automatic ban on sea angling in all of the new HPMAs and to support the recommendations of the Angling Trust’s response to the Benyon review.

Yours sincerely, 

                                         Wayne Thomas

Visit the Angling Trusts website for guidance on how to respond. I have sent a letter to our local MP and suggest you do the same its only takes fifteen minutes. Take time to write and save our wonderful pastime.


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Life seems to have paused in this strange era of lockdown and this gives time to reflect and assess where we are on life’s journey. Much of my life has revolved around angling and pursuing various goals. I like to think that I have reached a point where I have realised that it is not the catching that really matters but the memories that are made during the chase.

It is perhaps a disadvantage to be afflicted by a wide fascination with all types of angling. I have tended to flit from one fish to another never really devoting all my energies into one species for any length of time. I have dabbled with competitive angling with some success but it’s not really my thing. For a while I thought I was a bit of a specimen hunter but in truth I just love fishing. Big fish set the heart racing and need to be there lurking in the shadows but they don’t necessarily need to be caught.

Beside me I have a vast library of angling books many dating back into bygone eras many decades before my birth. Delving into the pages of these tomes it is clear that the principles or joys of angling have changed little. An angler at the water’s edge shares those same feelings and emotions. The glimpse of a good fish, the thrill of the take and the devastation of loss when a big fish breaks free or sheds the hook.

I am fortunate to have written two books myself ensuring that my own fishing journey is to a degree recorded for years to come. I have been reading a book on eel fishing by Barry McConnell; The Eel Angler tells of one angler’s obsession with catching big eels. I can relate to the journey the passion and the excitement within the pages. The jaunts, humour and adventure enjoyed during the quest for an outsize eel.

I have never caught a big eel, my biggest weighed a little over 2lb though I have seen eels that have been trapped on the outlet pipes of local reservoirs one of which I estimated at close to ten pounds. A big eel is perhaps a new goal to chase but have I the time to chase yet another mystery?

Non anglers would struggle to understand the motivation to fish the desire to deceive and cradle a creature from a different world in a dimension we can only glimpse into. My favourite book was written by Chris Yates and is entitled ‘Casting At The Sun’. It records the adventures of Chris and his young friends as they seek carp in enchanting lakes hidden at the end of winding country lanes in wooded vales. The book somehow captures the freedom of youth, summer days and nights beside water.

Our son James once commented that he relished those days fishing when you wake in the morning and have nothing more important than the days fishing ahead. Those days are very special for sure and I am often thankful that I have thoughts of fishing to occupy my mind.

When this lockdown is over it will be difficult to know where to cast first. I guess much will depend upon when it is and what the conditions are. If we have had heavy rain salmon and sea trout will be waiting. If it’s hot and dry then perhaps it will a carp or that eel. If there is moderate breeze and the tide is right then I could well take the plugging rod and wander a rocky shoreline. Maybe drift a team of buzzers at Wimbleball. Or maybe……….